The most fun I ever had training in the martial arts was the three years I spent training at the Filipino Kali Academy in Torrence under Danny Inosanto and Richard Bustillo. Years later, I encountered Danny at a workshop, and asked him if I might arrange a private lesson. He graciously said no, but we could get together and “share knowledge.”
You see, THAT is a master. Eternal student. Sees the path, not his relative position upon it. Eyes on the horizon. He will be like Gichin Funakoshi, creator of Shotokan Karate, who is said to have proclaimed upon his death bed: “I’m just beginning to understand a punch.”
Anyone with THAT attitude will max out their genetic and environmental potential, I have no doubt. And they will be so busy engaging in The Thing Itself that they don’t have much time to be unhappy. If they have chosen their field and life goals carefully, that level of balanced focus can produce a magnificent life.
Due to a wonderful combination of factors (including a wife who loves me!) I am about to re-connect with Danny, to spend three hours with him. While I hope to practice some flow drills, I really am not looking for techniques. Techniques are interesting, but Scott Sonnon showed me that the more interesting thing is the energy and perspective that CREATES techniques. Tap into that, and you create endless techniques. Teachers teach techniques only because eventually an aware student asks “where does this come from?” realizing, with frustration, that they will never use a complex technique in any live interaction, but they CAN use the principles, perspectives, and physical qualities that we can develop by exploring techniques.
Seek those at least one horizon beyond your position on the path, and they simply “vibrate” at a different frequency. Being around them will change your life, purify your intent, re-connnect you with your joy.
And maybe you’ll need to distract your monkey-mind with “techniques” while the real teaching sneaks in. If so, cool. Techniques are fun. But the real value are the answers to the twin questions: what is true? Who am I?
Any true path can take you closer. Any true master can show you the path.
I am blessed to have this opportunity. Have been blessed with the quality of teachers, mentors, allies, and students I’ve had in my life. I pray I never, ever underestimate the magnitude of that blessing.
That would be the greatest tragedy imaginable.